Katie Thompson from the Shawnee Early Childhood Center was named Shawnee's 2019 Teacher of the Year at the 45th Annual Teacher of the Year Banquet Monday night.

Thompson has been a kindergarten teacher at SECC for all her six years of teaching and was quite surprised and honored to receive the title.

"Other than teaching and having a family this is the most rewarding experience I've ever had," Thompson said. "I have so many people to thank but I want to thank every adult in my life whose inspired me to teach and every child in my life whose motivated me to keep teaching."

The educator explained were it not for her students she would not have won Teacher of the Year.

"At this moment pictures of my current and former students' faces are flashing in my mind. Not the paper work or the data I keep up with, not the lesson plans or the aisles of Dollar Tree where I find myself on a weekly basis, but my kids. My students are why I teach," Thompson said.

The theme of the evening was "celebrating excellence" and many educators were celebrated for their excellent dedication to their students and Oklahoma education.

Thompson was among seven other teachers who won Teacher of the Year at their schools and were also nominated for district TOY.

The other Teacher of the Year nominees were:

* Michelle Wallace, Teacher of the Year for Horace Mann Elementary. She has been a teacher counselor at Horace Mann for four years.

* Melissa McElfresh, Teacher of the Year for Jefferson Elementary, has taught fourth grade and gifted/talented at Jefferson for seven years and has 11 years of teaching experience.

* Tyler Harrison, husband to Caitlin Harrison andTeacher of the Year for Sequoyah Elementary has taught physical education for first through fifth grades for three years at Sequoya and this is his fourth year as a teacher.

* Caitlin Harrison, wife to Tyler Harrison and the Teacher of the Year for Will Rogers Elementary has been a second-grade teacher for four years at Will Rogers and she has six years of teaching experience.

* Kendra Butler, Teacher of the Year for Shawnee Middle School, has been the drama teacher at SMS for all of her two years of teaching.

* Theresa Dame, the Teacher of the Year for Shawnee High School, has been a special education teacher at SHS for seven years and has eight years of teaching experience.

* David Rolette, Teacher of the Year for Jim Thorpe Academy, just completed his first year teaching social studies at Jim Thorpe Academy and has 22 years of teaching experience.

Each nominee was recognized prior to the big announcement by their principals and through a tribute video and each received their own plaques and prizes.

Entertainment at the event included a cello performance from Theresa Swadley, Jefferson first grader Molly Newsome and SECC kindergartener Lily Timmons, as well as a choral performance of songs from "The Greatest Showman" by the SHS Show Choir led by Justin Lee.

Guests enjoyed dinner and the evening ended with many people winning door prizes donated by a number of local sponsors.